Over the past few months, I have been trying out DIY cleaning supplies. I always see them on Pinterest, but in the past I ignored them. How could they be as good store bought chemical cleaners? I grew up in the 70’s – the stronger the chemical, the better it worked. I remember my mom using some nasty cleaner to get oil-based printing ink out of my dad’s work clothes. When that didn’t work, he would bring home benzene solvents and that would always do the trick. I would stand right there and watch the magic cleaner dissolve the thick, oily ink from his hands and clothes. It was years later when I heard that benzene caused cancer.

Flash forward to current day. Although I longed for a magic cleaner to take away grim with little effort, I wasn’t crazy about the high chemical content in cleaners. I used well known cleaning brands, and although it was far from organic, I felt better using items from a “Family Company”.
Still, I wanted to try cleaning with DIY supplies. I wasn’t expecting much, but I thought it was at least worth a try. My first attempt was with bathroom cleaning supplies. I read about all these magic hard water stain and soap scum dissolvers. Living with hard Lake Michigan water, I knew this would have to be a miracle cleaner. The ingredients are simple:

Dawn and Vinegar

Mix equal parts of vinegar and blue Dawn dishwashing soap. It has to be Dawn and it has to be the original blue formula. This is the same stuff that they used on the poor animals that were covered with oil from the spill in the Gulf. I even used it on a dog’s coated when he rolled in the grease dripping from the grill. Amazing stuff!

Pour the vinegar and blue Dawn in a spray bottle, mix well and spray it on the walls and floor of the shower. I walked away for 15 minutes to let it do its thing. My shower floor has non-slip grooves and it is a pain to clean. The soap, mixed with dirt and hard water collect in the grooves and I usually have to scrub them out with a brush. However, after 15 minutes, I went in there with a rag and wiped it clean. I had to respray a couple spots, but for the most part, that was it. Cool!

The only area it could not clean is the caulk. I have a spot in the corner of my shower near the door where water collects. The caulk is moldy and gross in that corner. I am sure that if I wiped that dry after every shower, it wouldn’t have that problem. But, apparently I am in a huge hurry to get out of the shower (or maybe I am just too lazy) and the water sits in the corner.

Sadly, my new magic shower cleaner did not work on the mold. If I couldn’t get it clean, I would have to replace it. Back to Pinterest to find something else. I combined a couple of recipes to come up with this simple caulk cleaner. You need:


Baking soda
A bucket and rubber gloves

Pour baking soda into the bucket. I didn’t measure. I guess it was ¼ to ½ cup. Pour a small amount of bleach and while wearing rubber gloves, mix with your hands. You want a paste like consistency so start off with a small amount of bleach. If the mixture is too runny, it won’t sit on the caulk. I put the paste right on the moldy spot and let it sit while I did something else for an hour.

When I came back, I turned on the shower hand sprayer and all the paste went down the drain. No scrubbing at all. The result was AMAZING! There was no sign of mold. It was completely white again! You have to try this for yourself!

WARNING: Unless the paramedics in your town are hot, don’t use both of these cleaners on the same day. You can be overcome by the vinegar and bleach fumes if they mix. I wouldn’t recommend the bleach if you have colored grout. However, I had the bleach sitting right on the silver edging of the door and I didn’t get any discoloration. To be safe, try it on a small spot before you use it.

If you want to try more DIY cleaners, check out my article, The Chemical Free Kitchen, in the April 2013 issue of Red River Family magazine. Happy Cleaning!